The Team

John Chavez, Managing Director

Mr. Chavez currently serves as the Managing Director for the New Mexico Start-Up Factory I, II and III. He was the President of New Mexico Angels for over 12 years and has been an active investor for over 15 years. Under his leadership, the NM Angels had an increase of over 100% funding of investment deals in new companies. The Angels were often leading investment deals, rather than following venture capitals into them. John is also the Managing Partner of Phase One Ventures and a Partner of NMA Ventures, a forward thinking fund that is backed by the New Mexico Catalyst Fund.

Mr. Chavez has been an integral part of New Mexico’s economic development ecosystem.  He is responsible for creating technology showcase forums that have allowed Angel technology partners like Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University to have the opportunity of presenting technologies available for licensing to Angel members, Venture Capitalists and guests.

In addition to funding new companies, John is an avid entrepreneur. In 2012, he co-founded the New Mexico Start-Up Factory I and successfully launched 5 companies. Today, the Start-Up Factory now has 3 portfolios and has created 13 companies all based in New Mexico.

Mr. Chavez is also the President of Tafoya & Brainerd Consultants where he helps companies, organizations and entrepreneurs with business development, financial management, operational structure, investment opportunity and progressive execution.  He serves on several Boards as a member and leads several organizations as the Chair.  

Prior to his involvement with the New Mexico Angels and the New Mexico Start-Up Factory, Mr. Chavez was appointed to serve as the Cabinet Secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department for State of New Mexico by Governor Gary Johnson. Mr. Chavez held the role of Cabinet Secretary for six years and was also named the President of the Federation of Taxation Administrators for one year. John has a BA in Economics, BBA in Finance and MBA in Regulatory Economics from New Mexico State University.

Andrea M. Garcia, Company Creation Specialist

Andrea currently serves as the Company Creation Specialist for the New Mexico Start-Up Factory I, II and III. She works with entrepreneurs and scientists to help commercialize their innovations, create investable companies and secure funding. Andrea also works closely with research institutions to source new and promising technologies for development within the Start-Up Factory’s portfolio. With a background in marketing, employee development, leadership and operations, Andrea plays an important role in taking technologies from idea to industry within the organization’s business model. 

Andrea is the former the Vice President of the New Mexico Angels, where she worked to source high growth investment opportunities, while performing due diligence and managing the investment portfolio after an equity deal has been made. Andrea worked closely with entrepreneurs and companies seeking angel funding and mentored them through business development, marketing and the pitch presentation process.  In addition, Andrea also managed the company’s community outreach and educational initiatives.  

In 2020, Andrea was honored as an Albuquerque Business First “Woman of Influence,” a celebration in honor of women who have made a positive and influential impact in the New Mexico business community. She was also featured as one of “Three New Mexicans to Know: Leaders in Technology.” Andrea was highlighted as a special speaker for the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s “WE Mean Business” Virtual Conference, an event focused on supporting women entrepreneurs in New Mexico.

Mrs. Garcia earned a B.A., Honors Cum Laude from the University of Denver and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from New Mexico Highlands University. She is the mother of two young boys and enjoys competing in triathlons, snowboarding and playing golf with her husband.

Alicia Montoya, Project Manager

Alicia works with Start-Up Factory™ as an internal project manager. She assists the NMSUF team and scientist/entrepreneurs for the newly created startup companies so the can thrive and stay on track. Alicia’s skillset includes organizing resources, establishing priorities, communicating directives, coordinating events, developing programs and performing outreach on be half of the organization.

Alicia has extensive experience at developing and maintaining schedules, incorporating contingencies into planning to ensure projects are ready to be implemented and strategies incorporated for circumventing any unexpected problems.  She is adept at understanding that one stage of a project often relies on another stage meeting its deadline or maintaining its schedule. Alicia is a long term planner of projects with knowledge and experience on how to best allocate resources in order to accomplish milestones. Her primary goal to maintain a foundation that allows the New Mexico Start-Up Factory to grow and excel in its mission.

Alicia holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico. She is the mother of three amazing children and in her free time, enjoys reading, hiking, traveling and organizing any and all things.